Monday Morning is Hammer Time (Yes I’m using this joke too)


It’s just too perfect; I had to recycle that joke. Read on and learn why.

Dear Jared,

If I have multiple objects selected (lines, slabs, text, …..) and want to add them all to a single layer (say…reflected ceiling layer), they don’t all get assigned to it, rather I have to keep clicking back on the layer tab to assign again and again. Thanks, S

For users new to ArchiCAD, this can be one of the biggest surprises. In many other programs you select a bunch of elements, switch the layer, and everything changes. ArchiCAD is a little different.

When you select a variety of elements, only the tool of the last element type selected is active. So if you select walls, beams, and then columns, only the column tool is selected. If you go into the info box or the default settings of that tool and make changes, you’re only making changes to elements made by that tool. If you select a bunch of elements and the tool that is displayed is wrong, you can then deselect/select an element to change the active tool. For Instance, if you need walls selected, deselect a wall, then re-add it to the select set. Now you’ll see the wall tool selected in the info box.

This feature of ArchiCAD can have huge benefits, as you can select many elements, but surgically make changes to only specific ones. Furthermore, the actual properties you see in the tool will be the last element selected. So even if you only have windows selected, the window you see will be the last element selected. This has some advantages when you’re making changes to sizes, fills, IDs, etc. One trick I use a lot is to select all my elements, not worrying if the last element selected has the parameter I want fixed already correct. I’ll change the parameter I’m fixing to something completely wrong, then to the right number. For instance, say I want all my windows to have the ID of W01. I select all my windows and perhaps the last selected already has the correct ID. No worries. I change the ID to ABC, then once ArchiCAD registers the change (just wait a moment) I change it back to W01. Now all my windows have the correct ID.

It’s time to learn about Edit Selection Set.

ArchiCADFirst off, you’ll want to read the help file on Edit Selection Set. I’ll cover some of it here, but seriously do yourself a favor and read it. I’m sure even all the ArchiCAD Heroes will be surprised by a few things.

Look at the image above. How many elements have I selected: 143. Want to make changes to all of them? Click that little hammer next to the layer.

ArchiCADWithin Edit Selection Set you can change properties that are standard to all elements within ArchiCAD (most commonly layer and pencolors). Each element type is listed separately. If any were locked (remember all that talk about locking back in September??), the selected and editable numbers would differ. One of the nice little features of Edit Selection Set is that you can easily count objects using this number of selected. Not only for quick counts: how many chairs in this room? how many windows on this floor? But also for quick verifications. I know there are 35 trees (which are the only Objects I selected), did I select them all? Did I place the correct number of stars on this American flag mural (which I modeled as Morphs)? For more advanced counting, cataloging, and basic data investigation, Element Information and Find and Select are great next steps. Expect posts on both of those functions later this Fall. It’s also good to point out here that if you want to select just one type of element, select the tool first, then do a Select All (Command+A on a Mac). This will just select all the elements of that tool type in your view.

Checking what you’ve selected is also a good way to make sure you only got what you want. For instance I was adding rafter tails to a model. It was a lot of dragging multiple copies and following the grid. After I’d added all the rafter tails to one side of the house, I wanted to group them. I selected the rafter tails (drawn as Complex Profile beams) using (Selection Methods – Entire Elements). I then hit the hammer to make sure I only had beams selected. I did. So I grouped everything and moved on.

ArchiCADFor more advanced users, Edit Selection Set also offers the potential to make mass changes to Classifications: Element Classification, Position, Structural Function, and/or element-level Renovation settings. Be aware that you will only see the Classifications available to the last selected element. So in my first Edit Selection Set image (see above), my last selected element was an elevation marker. It has no Classification options, so none are shown. But in this final image (see below), my last selected element was a wall. So all the Classification options are available. Knowing this, with smart use of Find and Select, you will be able to quickly update all your necessary Classifications.

ArchiCADThis is just a little taste of what Edit Selection Set offers. Seriously do your self a favor and read the help file on Edit Selection Set.

And if you don’t get the joke within a joke that is the title, read this and then vote.


  1. Mark Golden

    Jared, thanks for your posts. As a sole practitioner, having fresh ideas on AC from you on how to enhance the AC experience is invaluable. Each day I look forward to reading your offerings.

  2. Judy Coetzee

    Love the tips – thank you!!


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